Cross Back Country Ski

I didn't believe the forecast. Snow? It's the last day of April, tomorrow it will be May. But there it was, two inches of snow on my lawn.

So what to do. It's Spring in my head which means cycling. I would have mountain biked up in the foothills, even with the snow, but my cycling gear was in my car which my daughter took to work.

Plan B: go ski.

I was concerned there wouldn't be enough snow cover at Aspen Grove but was relieved to see plenty.

It snowed on and off as I went up.

I peeled off the road and followed some BC skier tracks which led to a gully. The snow was really sticky, like cotton candy. So sticky I was able to go right up the fairly steep skin track with my waxless touring skis with only a few slips.

As I crested the ridge I had this fantastic view of Elk Point.

I'll pause here to note that on the way up the gully I realized I was heading into the backcountry. I thought I'd just go up a little ways and then traverse my way down. But the climbing was so good, and others had been up this same route, and it didn't look like an avalanche prone area, and hadn't I heard that snow is stable in Spring? And isn't this the chain of rationalizations that gets people into trouble?

So what did I do? Kept going up the ridge.

There is some method to my madness. I could see two skiers up on the ridge. I stopped and asked about the snow conditions and avalanche risk. The experienced guy assured me the snow was safe and pointed me to a good way down.

I went up the ridge a bit further and then started my zig zag traverse down the drainage I had come up.

Although it would have been more fun to make turns, I had fun zipping back and forth across the slope. (If you click on the photo below to get the larger version you'll see my zigzag route.) I tried a few telemark turns but crashed every time.

It didn't take long to get back down to the road. This photo is near the end. Notice the dirt bank and the taller-looking Elk Point.

May not have been the smartest thing to do, but I sure had fun on this last ski day of 2010-2011. Maybe it will snow again, but I put the skis away.

I gained 1800 feet on the climb.

Electronic Cigarettes, Really?

Watching TV with the kids, you know, quality family time - and a commercial comes on for EZsmoker.

It's an electronic cigarette with a battery that vaporizes liquid from a cartridge to make smoke.

So many questions.

- There is no nicotine, so is the act of smoking that enjoyable?
(You can buy refills with nicotine, which I imagine most customers do.)

- You can smoke indoors now, but won't you still get dirty looks?
(I don't think touching it to your hand is going to convince people.)

- It has a red light on the end to make it look more realistic, really?

- Is it for smokers who want to quit or for people who want to smoke but are turned off by the health risks of tobacco?

- It's not really smoke but a liquid vapor of water and glycerine, not sure how I feel about breathing that into my lungs. Oh, menthol flavor is available.

It seems most eCigarettes are advertised for quitting smoking, which I can see being effective - getting some of the sensation of smoking without so many chemicals and social stigma and better control over the nicotine dose.

But EZsmoker doesn't take the quit smoking angle in their ads, they focus on using the product to smoke with less health risks and not having to go outside to smoke. I have a hard time believing this angle appeals to many people.

However ... EZsmoker would allow me to try smoking without the risk of getting hooked (I'd get the no nicotine refills). I'd be like Humphrey Bogart, right?


RAWROD (Ride Around White Rim One Day) was yesterday. It would have been my 4th in a row.

I'd been mental off and on for RAWROD for the last two weeks. I finally decided a long dose of sunshine and riding would be good for me.

I got away before noon on Friday and I arrived around 2 pm. With time on my hands I rode the Brand trails - EZ, Deadman's Ridge, Bar B, Rockin A, Circle O, then the new lower part of Deadman's. Bar B and Deadman's Ridge were my favorites.

Somewhere on Circle O.

The new lower part of Deadman's Ridge. The tread was very soft.

Then I headed to RAWROD camp.

The Fast Friday group reported lots of sand. Hmm.

The brats were as delicious as ever (thank you, Elden and Kenny).

The wind blew all night. I awoke at 3 am and got no more sleep.

Saturday morning was cold and overcast. After only a few miles up Horsethief road I couldn't feel my fingers or toes. Then it started spitting rain. By the time I hit the paved road I was thinking about bailing but went on. About half way to the Shaffer turnoff I saw Elden, Lisa and Blake coming my way. I immediately made a U-turn and joined them.

The weather was the main decider - I've done RAWROD in bad weather (2009) and wasn't in the mood for it this time. Also my legs had no punch. In short, I just wasn't feeling it.

I loaded up the car and decided to check out Canyonlands, since it was free this week.

On the drive in the car hit 100,000 miles. Also notice the temperature.

Grand View Point did not disappoint. I even spotted RAWRODers and the support vehicles.

Island In The Sky is a nice park, some good views, but not as interesting as Arches and other parks so I didn't stay long.

I stopped for a ride at Klondike Bluffs. By now the weather had improved to mostly cloudy and warmer. I went up Klondike Bluffs then peeled off onto Baby Steps where I rode a section I hadn't done before. More signs and markers have been added so finding and staying on Baby Steps is much easier now. The new section was fun to ride so I'm glad I found it.

More rain on the drive home, even snow at Soldier Summit.

Not what I had planned when I left home, but I enjoyed how plan B worked out.

Sunglasses No-No

To all manufacturers of sunglasses, don't do this:

You see it, right? The etched name, logo, whatever on the lens.

Don't do that!

I see that stupid etching in my peripheral vision and it bugs me. The lens is for me to see through, got it? Put your branding someplace else, the frame is fine.

Perhaps this lame branding can be expected from Pugs, the king of gas station glasses. But Tifosi? Come on. You want respect? To be a quality mid-level product? Well don't do cheesy crap like etch stuff on the lens.

You're welcome.

Picasa Four Image Upload Limit Gone

It's about time!

I use Google's free Picasa to import photos from our cameras, organize them, clean them up, and upload to this blog and Facebook.

The BlogThis! button in Picasa had a limit of 4 images it would upload at a time. Now the Google folks have removed this limit. They also fixed a localhost bug. My life just got a little easier.

St. George Spring Break

I was going to title this post "Escape to St. George", but I'd used it already. I guess it's a theme.

Thursday morning we left gloomy, 39 degree Orem and arrived at Snow Canyon to play in shorts and t-shirts.

We scrambled around on the slickrock for a while.

Then biked down the paved trail.

The kids played at the sand dunes, while Jolene and I went for a bike ride up the west fork. Shh, don't tell her doctor.

Friday morning I left our hotel on St. George Boulevard and rode the Pioneer Rim trail. I didn't find the east end but got on it after a while. I took a non-standard way down to Red Hills Parkway, checked the map, found the trail head and started out City Creek trail, where I snapped this flower photo.

I took the alternate trail to the south up the stair-stepped rock then down and explored Owen's trail, which has some good technical stuff. I continued on City Creek which has sections of old double-track and some good single-track. Then took the paved trail along Bluff Street and city streets back to the hotel.

After late breakfast we saw a few historical sites: Brigham Young's summer home and the Tabernacle. These old buildings are impressive but the tours were too long.

The park by the Tabernacle has a wading area and a fountain the kids can play in. We decided to stay dry.

After lunch we drove out to Gunlock Reservoir just as something to do. We've been to St. George many times over the years and we're getting thin on new things to do. When I did the Cactus Hugger Century a few years ago I liked this area so we went to check it out. The water exiting Gunlock flows over orange sandstone in some nice falls. If I'd had my swimsuit I would have taken a dip in the pools.

We drove up to Veyo and had treats at Veyo Pies - I shared a slice of banana creme pie with Rachel.

That evening we went to the park and had a nice picnic. The temperature was perfect. The kids played while we talked.

Thanks to the magic of Facebook I learned that Mad Dog Keith was also in St. George so we got together for a ride Saturday morning. Keith was kind enough to show me a nice loop ride that he'd done most of the day before. We went out on Barrel (Cacti) Trail a ways then dropped off the rim and down to Stucki Springs then took a connector trail that connected us back to Stucki close to the Rim trails which we rode to the top where I took this photo.

Kieth and I rode back to Green Valley via the wash trail on the north side of the bluff.

We took the kids up to Pioneer Park, always a favorite, and squeezed up the crack and wandered around on the rocks a little while then ate lunch.

In the afternoon we did a family ride with Jolene's brother's family along the Virigin River. We all had fun cruising the paved trail watching people float by in canoes, kayaks and inflatables.

The kids crammed into the hot tub.

That evening the adults went out to eat while the kids watched movies at home.

Sunday morning we packed up and headed out. We stopped at Cover Fort. We've driven past it so many times, this time we stopped. We just wanted to look around but couldn't' without a tour guide, really? We got bored and said we had to get going.

Overall it was a good trip. The sunshine and warm weather were just what we needed.


Being unemployed has distracted me from blogging. March 31st was my last day at work.

Interesting job market right now. There are job openings but employers are slow to hire and there are many candidates vying for each job. I've had some interviews. Some recent prospects look promising. I believe I'll find a new job I like, but it may take a while.

I've also been working on some projects. So I've been keeping busy.

Oh, and I've been playing just a little.

On April 3 after the snow storm Kara, Kade an I built a snow arch. We were going for Delicate Arch, I think we did OK.

On April 1st I went with Jolene for her first bike ride after breaking her leg last Fall. Just a 13 mile road ride around town. She did OK on the bike. The bumps made her broken leg feel weird.

Then on the 5th we went up South Fork (of Provo Canyon) for a 26 mile ride. There is slide across the paved trail (maybe it's gone now).

On Friday the 8th I skied with Mark and his brother Paul at Brighton with over a foot of fresh powder. It was glorious. May have been the best ski day of the year for me.

The next day, with more new snow, I did a short cross country ski with Tall Steve. It was fantastic.

I got a mountain bike ride or two in there somewhere.

It's kind of nice to be able to do stuff when the mood / opportunity strikes.

I proclaim this the Spring of Kris.